Harrah's Rincon bus careens off Valley Center Road, Sept. 19
A representative of the company operating the bus service declined to comment. Photo by Michael Crane/ Valley Roadrunner
September 26, 2013Eight people suffered injuries on the morning of Sept. 19 when a bus bound for Harrah's Rincon Hotel and Casino careened off Valley Center Road.
While heading east on Valley Center Road at about 9:30 a.m., passengers reported that the driver was driving too fast and began to lose control after passing the turn-off for Vesper Road. Five miles short of their destination, the bus — operated by Silver State Coach — collided into a fence following a curve in the road and came to rest in the front yard of a nearby residence which suffered no damage, according to the California Highway Patrol.
"He was swerving like a snake," said passenger Arthur Ponce.
The driver and seven of the 15 passengers were transported to Palomar Hospital while another passenger was taken to Fallbrook. All aboard the bus were adults.
As of Sept. 24, all passengers has been released from the hospital except one woman who is recovering from surgery following a broken leg. She and her husband had sat in the back of the bus, according to Jim Bettencourt, a CHP spokesperson.
He added that the driver had the valid necessary medical certificate required for commercial drivers and was reportedly experienced with the route. Neither alcohol nor medical issues caused the crash, he said.
A full investigation to know the cause of the accident is ongoing. However it is likely that speed was the decisive factor, said Bettencourt.
A representative of Silver State Coach declined to comment to the Valley Roadrunner regarding the incident.
Passengers boarded the bus in Seal Beach that morning at 7:15 a.m. and they were scheduled to arrive at the casino by 10 a.m.
"He was going fast all the way," said passenger Jim Desimas before adding that he felt several times the bus might tip over before the crash.
The incident is the second time a casino-bound bus has crashed this month. A bus travelling from Los Angeles to Casino Pauma collided with a guard rail on the east side of Pala Temecula Road, Sept. 1, reportedly following brake failure as the bus entered a curve in the road.
Bettencourt said summertime traffic is one reason more crashes have occurred. However, buses remain the safest mode of transportation for older people.
"People just need to drive safer on those roads out there and not drive over their heads."
Michael Crane of the Valley Roadrunner contributed to this report.